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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1769888 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #15390 on: October 23, 2015, 11:13:42 AM »

Kwaidan (1964) 1080p. A portmanteau of supernatural stories set in ancient Japan, adapted from the works of Lafcadio Hearn. The stories are not connected and there is no frame to tie them together. Obviously, some are better than others, so I score each part separately as follow: "The Black Hair" 7/10; "The Snow Woman" 8/10; "Hoichi the Earless" 11/10; "In a Cup of Tea" 8/10. I have owned the Criterion LD and DVD, and then the MoC DVD. This new Criterion Blu, based on a digital restoration, looks better than just about anything ever transferred to disc. It also comes with a Stephen Prince commentary (nonstop--or nearly--blather for 3 hours!), which is helpful, particularly regarding what he has to say about the sound design. Toru Takemitsu, Japan's most famous 20th Century composer, provided the film's sounds. Takemitsu scored about 100 films, I understand, and his approach, at least in the 1960s, was to dissolve the distinction between music and effects. The approach is similar to Morricone's musique concrète  experiment at the beginning of OUATITW. Except that Morricone used a rather naïve approach: the sounds match exactly the images they're paired with, so that a train screeching to a halt on metal rails sounds exactly like a train screeching to a halt on metal rails. Takemitsu was more adventurous, using, for example, the sound of breaking ice to represent a door slamming, and then deliberately presenting the sound out of sync, so that it comes immediately before or after the moment the door shuts. Sometimes he uses the sound of the shakuhachi, the Japanese flute, to represent the sound of wind, and the shakuhachi sounds nothing like natural wind noise. In "Hoichi the Earless" the title character plays a biwa (a Japanese lute), and we hear a passage from his performance. But he doesn't play his instrument in the traditional way a performer of his period would. Instead we get a 20th Century avant-garde treatment, one where the silence between notes is even more potent than the notes intoned. In other words, this is way beyond what we get for a score in most movies. It's something akin to what Kubrick might have accomplished in 2001 if, rather than stealing from great composers, he'd actually collaborated with someone like Ligeti.

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« Reply #15391 on: October 24, 2015, 04:34:09 PM »

Room (2015) - 6/10. A captive woman (Brie Larson) lives with her 5-year-old son (some kid) in a shed. Her captor prevents them from ever going outside. Seven years ago the woman was taken to be the man's sex slave and the child was born in captivity. "Room" is the only world he's ever known. He has TV to watch but he doesn't fully understand that much of what he watches in real. Now that the boy is 5, though, the woman feels she can contrive an escape with his help.

The film is less concerned about life in "Room" or about the escape than about the boy's adjustment to the real world once he gets out. (Oops! SPOILER). This is a good premise, but one indifferently executed. Much of the film is shown from the kid's viewpoint (there is even voice-over provided by the child actor, who was, at the time, 7-playing-5). A little of this goes a long way. The problem is, since we all know what living in the world entails, all the surprises are with the character and never with us. Things are too predictable: the first time the kid eats ice-cream he gets brain freeze--oh, how cute. The film has nothing profound to say, and events are generally believable, but all we end up with is a series of precious moments performed by Ms. Larson and a precious young actor. It's not enough.

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« Reply #15392 on: October 25, 2015, 01:08:23 PM »

Steve Jobs (2015) - 8.5/10
Other than that Aaron Sorkin has zero idea of how to write sentimental / emotional / human scenes (as proven by the the ending of this film, all of The Newsroom, and thankfully avoided with Social Network), this is a movie that I believe isn't getting proper praise past Fassbender's obviously excellent performance. Most of the film has Sorkin's dialogue at the top of its game, with Boyle's energetic direction paired with his editor's style supporting the script nearly perfectly. In the end though, this is an actor's movie - the ensemble cast is the stand-out part of Steve Jobs, and this is proven by the credits - a cut to black reveals Fassbender's name with the rest of the cast following, with no appearance of Boyle, Sorkin, Elliot Graham, until at least after I left the theater.

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« Reply #15393 on: October 25, 2015, 01:59:39 PM »

Steve Jobs (2015) - 8.5/10
Other than that Aaron Sorkin has zero idea of how to write sentimental / emotional / human scenes (as proven by the the ending of this film, all of The Newsroom, and thankfully avoided with Social Network), this is a movie that I believe isn't getting proper praise past Fassbender's obviously excellent performance. Most of the film has Sorkin's dialogue at the top of its game, with Boyle's energetic direction paired with his editor's style supporting the script nearly perfectly. In the end though, this is an actor's movie - the ensemble cast is the stand-out part of Steve Jobs, and this is proven by the credits - a cut to black reveals Fassbender's name with the rest of the cast following, with no appearance of Boyle, Sorkin, Elliot Graham, until at least after I left the theater.
How does this compare with Jobs (2013)? Ashton Kucher was great in the title role, but that film overall was very much like a TV docu-drama.

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« Reply #15394 on: October 25, 2015, 05:40:34 PM »

How does this compare with Jobs (2013)? Ashton Kucher was great in the title role, but that film overall was very much like a TV docu-drama.
Never saw it, only heard horrendous things.

Steve Jobs is basically a play on film, taking place in 3 clear acts. Each act is the behind-the-scenes of a launch of his newest product. It spans 15 years in total, with details of the in-between years being revealed through dialogue as Steve prepares for each presentation. It's far from a standard biopic like I assume Kutcher's Jobs is.

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« Reply #15395 on: October 25, 2015, 05:49:40 PM »

I'm really interested in this one. I'm disappointed that Fincher left the project. It would have been an easy 9/10, and could have reached 10/10.

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« Reply #15396 on: October 25, 2015, 06:55:16 PM »

Yeah, I forgot Fincher was previously involved. He's definitely a better filmmaker than Boyle, but I think Boyle's style suits Sorkin's writing very well - not in the sense that The Social Network does, but close enough.

I've seen 5 movies from Danny now, and while I think his style can be a bit too flashy at times, it's most effective and subdued with Steve Jobs. It may not quite be his best film - I'd probably give that to 127 Hours (maybe), but it's definitely up there.

With both 127 Hours and Steve Jobs though, Boyle's energy works surprisingly well with the subject matter. 127 Hours is a two hour movie of a man stuck in a small cave, and Steve Jobs is an entirely dialogue driven play, but both films feel very exciting.

I think if Fincher had directed this it would be far too similar to The Social Network, and would thus be a misstep in his career. While I like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I thought it was a wasted movie for Fincher - it's too similar to Se7en, and not nearly as good. I'm happy with Boyle doing this one instead.

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« Reply #15397 on: October 26, 2015, 01:50:40 AM »

Yeah, I forgot Fincher was previously involved. He's definitely a better filmmaker than Boyle, but I think Boyle's style suits Sorkin's writing very well - not in the sense that The Social Network does, but close enough.

I've seen 5 movies from Danny now, and while I think his style can be a bit too flashy at times, it's most effective and subdued with Steve Jobs. It may not quite be his best film - I'd probably give that to 127 Hours (maybe), but it's definitely up there.

With both 127 Hours and Steve Jobs though, Boyle's energy works surprisingly well with the subject matter. 127 Hours is a two hour movie of a man stuck in a small cave, and Steve Jobs is an entirely dialogue driven play, but both films feel very exciting.

I think if Fincher had directed this it would be far too similar to The Social Network, and would thus be a misstep in his career. While I like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I thought it was a wasted movie for Fincher - it's too similar to Se7en, and not nearly as good. I'm happy with Boyle doing this one instead.

Fair points.
I've never been impressed by Boyle's work but still have to see 127 hours. I have seen vaguely ok (trainspotting, the beach) to mediocre stuff (Trance, slum dog millionaire) but all of them hinted at something better he could do in the near future.

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« Reply #15398 on: October 26, 2015, 05:41:34 AM »

Un Dimanche à la campagne / A Sunday in the Country (1984) - DVD - 9/10. I note that most if not all of Tavernier's films are out now on Blu-ray in France but without titres Anglais. This is probably because they are Studio Canal properties and SC doesn't want to cannibalize sales from their English-speaking markets. Which would be fine except they're never going to bring the titles out in English-speaking markets and they won't sub-license to other companies. Which is why I had to watch this on (SC's 2003) DVD. I was happy to find, however, that this particular transfer looks very good when upscaled to 1080p. And it needs to look good, since it's about Sunday in the country and the chief character is a painter--successful, but second-rate, and approaching his dotage. Family comes for a visit and, mercifully, there is no melodrama. I gather this is an adaptation of a novel. Tavernier does well, but he makes one misstep. For some reason he decided to add a pair of little girls that the hero can see from time to time but no one else can. Undoubtedly they represent something: vanished youth, or the hope of rebirth, or the expression of one's inner child, or what-have-you. Fine. But the girls are a needless addition. The old man has grandchildren--a canny director should have been able suggest whatever he wanted by using them. The girls are needless clutter. That aside, the film is a success, and quite a handsome one.

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« Reply #15399 on: October 27, 2015, 05:58:12 AM »

Mad Max: Fury Road 4th viewing, this time on home cinema 8/10

Jurassic World 2nd viewing, this time on home cinema. Not half as entertaining as the first time. I'll never watch it again. 4/10

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« Reply #15400 on: October 27, 2015, 01:46:07 PM »

Mad Max: Fury Road 4th viewing, this time on home cinema 8/10
Where's the promised B&W version?

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« Reply #15401 on: October 30, 2015, 06:34:14 AM »

The Assassin (2015) Hsiao-Hsien Hou: 10/10 - Digital photography: 10/10 - Costumes, sets, bric-a-brac: 10/10 - Sound design: 10/10 - Editing: 10/10 - Story: meh, not so much.
2nd viewing. Same comments as before, but I was able to work out more of the plot this time. It doesn't matter much, but there is a certain satisfaction to be wrung from seeing through all the obfuscation.

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« Reply #15402 on: October 30, 2015, 07:04:31 AM »

2nd viewing. Same comments as before, but I was able to work out more of the plot this time. It doesn't matter much, but there is a certain satisfaction to be wrung from seeing through all the obfuscation.

Third time is the charm  Afro

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« Reply #15403 on: October 30, 2015, 11:33:06 AM »

Just saw City Lights for the first time, on TCM. Great, great stuff. This is only the second Chaplin film I've seen (The Kid), and only around the fifth silent film I've seen (The General, which I also just recently saw on TCM; Battleship Potemkin; and the 2011 Oscar winner The Artist).

Good times. There are so many famous scenes, so many famous gags, but the one that perhaps made me laugh most of all is the one where he is eating spaghetti and then starts eating the streamers ...  Grin

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« Reply #15404 on: October 30, 2015, 04:53:06 PM »

Just saw City Lights for the first time, on TCM. Great, great stuff.

There are so many famous scenes, so many famous gags, but the one that perhaps made me laugh most of all is the one where he is eating spaghetti and then starts eating the streamers ...  Grin
But, uh, isn't this film a comedy? You say you were laughing at the gags?? Who ARE you, man, and why are you posting on D&D's account???

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